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on June 9, 2008
I'm not your typical romance genre reader (not that I have anything against romance, it's just not a huge priority for me when choosing my personal reading material). Sarah Pawley does a wonderful job with characterization and painting the era her characters inhabit. The heroine's journey of self-discovery is very relatable to independent women of any era, not just the one she inhabits. I especially appreciated that the characters are drawn in shades of grey (i.e. no one is completely good or bad) - not only does it make the people more real, but it made me much more invested in the story. An excellent debut novel - I am looking forward to great things from Pawley.
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on June 10, 2008
I'm a big romance consumer! I love nothing more than a good romance novel or a sweet romantic comedy and Finding Grace has met and exceeded my expectations. Not only is it a sweet, romantic love story but also an interesting character study of people. Indeed, I think it is this the book's strong point. It captured me from the first chapter with it's brave, yet undiscovered, heroine who admires Jane Eyre without realizing just how much she has in common with her and the harsh, almost oppresive surroudings she has to inhabit ... The mother and father are truly realistic and strangley enough remain true to their first depiction until the end which I think shows real courage on the authors part to be realistic and not sugar coat the things she feels strongley about ...

The novle also gives a subtle, admiring nod to Pride and Prejudice which I for one loved!

All in all, a lovley first book! Highly recommanded to anyone who enjoys witty romance.
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on June 28, 2008
I recieved an advanced copy of this book and I wasn't sure what to expect. I've been let down by many novels recommended to me, but this book was such a pleasant suprise. The characters are well drawn and feel so genuine. Grace Langdon is a spunky, intelligent heroine, and her struggle to find love and independence are something most anyone can relate to. Henry Shaw was another favorite of mine - a troubled man who is made bitter by hard knocks, but lightened by love. I would recommend this story to anyone looking for a sweet, romantic summer read.
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on June 6, 2011
** WARNING ** WARNING ** WARNING **

** THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!! **

Finding Grace is just the sort of sappy, romantic stuff I love, and when the story worked, it worked beautifully. Except it didn't always work. Parts of it felt forced. In the first chapter, Ms. Pawley went to great lengths to stress how Grace's personality was willful, strong, and that when riled, she was a force to be reckoned with. This set-up was totally unnecessary as she did an excellent job showing us Grace's character during the telling of the story.

Also, I had difficulty with how Grace initially felt about Henry Shaw. He was certainly handsome, but his behavior toward her (and his female companion) was reprehensible. Why did Grace spend so much time dwelling on her fear of having her heart broken by such a horrid man? It would have been much more believable for Grace to admit that the only reason she couldn't stop thinking about him was because he was so good-looking and then berate herself for it after each encounter with him. An opinionated and strong character should not just up and fall in love with a cad just because he's handsome. Fortunately, once Ms. Pawley got over this hump, the remainder of the romance was nothing less than ooey, gooey yumminess!

The final aspect of the story I take issue with is poor Charlie. It's like Ms. Pawley couldn't make up her mind whether he should be a victim or a villian, and having him be a Jekyll/Hyde type simply didn't work. He started out sympathetic enough, but even after Grace rejected him and we saw another side to his personality, I was still hopeful that the romance would revolve around Grace showing him how to be a man she could love and completely give herself to. It's because he was initially shown to be such a sympathetic character that I never really believed the change in him when he became violent and verbally abusive. And because Grace initially fostered such tender feelings for him, I also found it hard to believe she could completely turn on him in one evening. Henry Shaw's behavior was no worse, and not only did Grace tolerate it, she couldn't stop thinking about him. When Charlie came to Chicago looking for her, he continued being Jekyll and Hyde. First, he was the angry monster, but then he became repentent, and ultimately I couldn't help feeling bad for him upon learning his fate. I think this character would have worked better as either a victim who returns home a broken man after a final rejection, or a straight-out villian, whose ultimate fate would have been justified.

There were also a few typos and one glaringly ill-constructed sentence whose existence in a published book is absolutely inexcusible. But overall, it was an enjoyable read: good romantic escapism.
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on September 21, 2011
I really enjoyed this book. The author writes a nice love story using a Christian based writing style. My only problem with the book is all the typos! Do publishing companies not have editors anymore? Do they just rely on spell check?
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on May 1, 2011
I must admit, "Finding Grace" by Sarah Pawley, is the second book that I have read since I was a teenager. I used to get lost in the fantasy world created by Danielle Steele as a young adult. Sarah Pawley reunited me with that sort of vision. Once I started reading "Finding Grace", I instantly got forced into the ever loving main character, "Gracie". A sweet seventeen year old country girl, filled with rebellious characteristics. A woman after my own heart, I found myself relating to her in many ways. A true romantic, looking for her everlasting love, her journey takes her from a small country town in Virginia to the big city life of Chicago. Based in a time of the late 1920's, the author captures the time period extremely well.

Living with her parents and brothers, she experiences the wrath of hard work and a stern father. Grace feels held back in her small town with no modern amenities yet she loves the country side where she can roam free to think and read her favorite books. When a marriage is forced upon her by her parents she breaks free of their grip and ran for the city to join her brother in Chicago. Once she finally gets to her destination, she finds herself in awe of all the newness of her surroundings.

As the tale unfolds, the author captures every essence of Grace's new discovers. Even something as small as a refrigerator or bathtub, the author illustrates the little delicacies we take for granted in life today.

Sarah Pawley nails this book when it comes to a romantic love story based on two people that should never be together. Kudos' to her for writing such a wonderful, everlasting tale, which was embedded in my soul!
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on September 16, 2011
This was a pleasant enough 1920s period piece. I found the writing a bit uneven in places and some plot transitions were not very smooths. This book seems like it was shortened from a longer version to me; I feel like some essential details were left out.

EDITED TO ADD: Ah, I now see that there was a book telling the story of Grace's brother, Jack, and his wife, Alice, with whom Grace went to live. I would guess that would supply some of the details I felt were missing.
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on March 27, 2016
I really liked this book. I'm sorry I didn't get to read book 1 of the series first but I'm looking forward to book 3. It had a great story and characters.
I so wanted Grace to find happiness. There were a few editing errors but not enough to bother me. The plot kept me very interested. I would recommend reading.
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on September 8, 2011
This book had nothing beleivable in it. I read it just to see if it could get any worse by the end, It could and it did. A 31 year old man , owner of a night club, regular church goer, war veteran, womanizer and he is in love with this country girl of 17. Isn't that what we would consider underage for this man to even approach? The whole thing was really a big waste of time. If there was a rating lower than 1 star I would give it.
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on September 4, 2011
This book is not a page-turner, but it was an enjoyable read for me, as it stayed true to the time in which the story occurred.

Some of the characters were developed well enough, but none of them went through any remarkable change, although there was change in the events and in what the characters experienced. Some of the characters and incidents were too good to be true, and others depended on chance rather than a character's action, even though the protagonist was shown as a daring seventeen year-old who took brave steps on her own.

I also liked the slow romantic pace and the writer's musings through the main character even when those musings got in the way of her storytelling. What jolted me out of my seat was the shocking murder-suicide of a secondary character, which conveniently got rid of the two opponents of the main male character. In addition, this event felt too sudden and jarring and shook the easy pleasant pace I had grown accustomed to.

A plus for the writer's pen is in the romance/sex area. Unlike most stories of the romance genre, Sarah Paley has depended on the characters and plot rather than the titillating but totally unnecessary sex scenes to carry the story.

The book was easy to read and left this reader with a pleasant feeling, even if the ending reminded her of too-happy and far-fetched Hollywood endings.
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